Florida Probate Rules You Need To Know

Florida Probate Rules Will
Florida Probate Rules Will

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So, a loved one just passed and you’re feeling an array of emotions from loss to anxiety and everything in between. The last thing in the world that you want to deal with in a situation such as this is finances and Florida probate rules. If you’ve been tasked with closing out the finances of someone you loved that is now deceased, you might sense a tinge of confusion. A startling 2017 survey cited that more than half of today’s Americans aren’t financially prepared for their own demise. So, if they’re not prepared, how could you be expected to prepare? Step one is to take a deep breath and gain a deeper understanding of by reading about the legal jargon in plain English.

At first glance, these Florida probate rules and statutes might come across as intimidating. Even the terms related to legalities can be incredibly formal, making you feel as if an attorney or personal legal representative is required just to go over the paperwork. In reality, that is usually true. The good news is that these regional regulations were put in place to protect you, your family, and the best interests of the recently deceased.

Florida probate rules can be extremely tricky for anyone who has not extensively studied Ch. 731-739 under Title XLII, the Estates and Trusts section of Fl. statutes. This means that even a fine attorney lacking local familiarity could run into unexpected issues regarding probate within the state or region of the recently deceased. On paper, nationwide legal differences come across as small, unimportant issues. However, in real court cases, they could wind up costing you and your family a great deal of time, money and property. For this reason, obtaining a legal advisor who is familiar with local codes of trust and inheritance is of the utmost importance.

You should seek advice if you have been named the personal representative or executor of a recently deceased individual. The same is true if you are the beneficiary of an estate. The final affairs of a decedent are often related to finance at a time when families and loved ones are mourning an emotional loss. As such, gaining a full understanding of regional code could prove difficult and stressful right when you’re in need of simplicity. Here’s an overview of information designed to break down the various facets of these statutes in terms that are easy to read and understand.

What Is Probate?

It is a legal procedure that aids the state in efficiently gathering and distributing the assets and debts of a deceased person. In short, it is a necessary process designed to make sure that various assets and debts end up in the right hands in the event that a decedent didn’t leave a will behind. It might also apply if the will was insufficient and/or out of date or if the decedent’s final will and testament needs to be authenticated.

In any of the aforementioned situations, legal documents and paperwork will be provided.

The Probate Process In Florida

While probate varies across the nation, the steps of the legal process almost always include:

  • Will Authentication– In the event that the recently deceased completed a last will and testament, authenticating the most recent, valid form of the document is the first step.
  • Naming A Personal Representative-Upon completion of step one, the judge will move forward by choosing a personal representative in charge of overseeing the process.
  • Procuring Assets-Next, all assets of the deceased are to be obtained by the administrator, or personal representative mentioned above. This person could alternatively be named executive.
  • Gathering Appraisals-The chosen individual will also become responsible for valuation of gross estates, stocks, and other assets.
  • Sending A Notification Of Death-Under regional law, possible creditors are entitled to receive a notification of the death and are usually given a limit time to stake claims for payment. Refuting such claims is the responsibility of the personal representative.
  • Paying Debts-Once creditors have been given notice of the death, debts are settled with or without the aid of a judge.
  • Filing Tax Returns-The decedent’s last and final tax returns are to be completed as well.
  • Distribution Of Funds And Assets-Once debts and taxes are taken care of, the remaining inheritance is distributed to the rightful beneficiaries under the watchful eyes of judges in the area.

An Overview Of Assets And Florida Probate Rules

Florida Probate Process Scale

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This particular procedure is centered on personal assets that lacked a provision of automatic succession and were solely the property of the deceased. The most common assets in cases like this include:

  • Personal Bank Accounts
  • Personal Retirement Accounts
  • Life Insurance Policies
  • Land (with the exclusion of homestead property)

Assets that were the property of the deceased but were located in a different state can sometimes have separate sets of regulations. This is especially true if the decedent resided in different places as different times of the year. For example, if you are about to inherit a loved one’s Miami summer home, these assets might be subject to different rulings and procedures. It should also be duly noted that assets are separate from debts but both are usually the responsibility of the personal representative. If you have been named to oversee the final financial responsibilities of a deceased loved one, a qualified attorney can help you to separate assets from debts.

Formal Administration Probate Florida

The mostly commonly known type of Fl. probate is referred to as formal administration. This is the court supervised collection and distribution in situations where the decedent has passed away within a two year timeframe, leaving behind an estate value of $75,000 or more. Formal administration is detailed in the 733rd chapter of legislation.

Summary Administration: The Statute For Small Estates

If the decedent has been deceased for a timeframe that exceeds two years, or if the decedent left behind an estate value that is under $75,000, but still exceeding funeral costs, this type of process is legally known as a summary administration. Summary administration is fully explained in Chapter 735 of Fl. Statues.

Disposition Of Personal Property Without Administration

Under limited circumstances, administration is not required in the disposition of personal property. This type of proceeding is categorized under Chapter 735.301. Disposition of personal property without administration pertains to the following:

  • Exempt Personal Property- such as household automobiles and certain household furnishings
  • Exempt Personal Property- as it pertains to holdings that fall out of bounds of creditor’s claims
  • Non-exempt Personal Property-that does not exceed funeral expenses or a total of $6,000

Individuals seeking this type of proceeding are still required to file legal documents in order to prove qualification. Once the forms are provided, attorneys might still become necessary.

Understanding Your Rights As A Local Beneficiary

Whether you have been named the personal representative, or you’re a rightful heir, whether your search for the 2017 code on this topic has proven useful or left you with unanswered questions, it is always in your best interest to contact a legal representative regarding these proceedings. There are rights you might be entitled to that you might not fully understand. There are forms that will need to be filed that you might not even be aware of.

A knowledgeable legal aid that is fully versed in local legislation can provide this service. In a real case involving the courts, here are just a few things you and your family might need to understand:

  • The qualifications for different types of filing
  • How to open an estate
  • Petition for administration
  • Identifying assets
  • Obscuring death certificates
  • Valuation of property
  • Litigation
  • Guardianship
  • Rights of surviving spouse
  • Finance
  • Taxation
  • Trust codes
  • Forms
  • Fees and so much more

This is a lot to take in after experiencing the death of a loved one. In general, an attorney in your county who understands probate code can go over the information with you and help you to make sense of everything.

You can speak with one of our live representatives any time of the day or night to ask questions about Florida probate rules. Call today at 877-466-3227.